Throwing a party takes a good deal of planning and coordinating of schedules, and it can be tricky to throw off a bash that includes appetizers for everyone. Chances are, there's at least one person on your guest list who eats a vegetarian or vegan diet or can't have gluten, dairy or nuts because of an intolerance or allergy. This is where a health food store comes in. Multiple options abound down the aisles of health food stores that ensure that no one goes hungry while waiting for the main course.
Visit the Olive Bar
Most health food stores have a fresh olive bar that offers an array of colorful olives, many of which are stuffed with garlic or pimentos. Most fresh olives are gluten-free, dairy-free and soy-free and make perfect appetizers. Olive bars usually also include marinated mozzarella cheese, which is another healthy offering for an appetizer platter. Stock up on marinated peppers from the olive bar, as well, as these are a tasty choice for your dairy-free guests who won't be able to eat the marinated mozzarella.
Browse the Specialty Sections
Head down the gluten-free aisle, something that most health food stores offer, and stock up on crackers made with rice or nuts, both of which are good choices for your gluten-free guests. Look in the natural foods section for nut spreads, such as almond or walnut butter, which make a perfect complement to the crackers. Cheese spreads are another item to include so your nut-free guests have something to spread on their crackers, too. Many health food stores sell pate, which is another cracker accompaniment that your gluten-free, dairy-free and soy-free guests might enjoy.
Go For Fresh Produce
A fresh fruit and vegetable platter is a nutritious appetizer that almost all people are able to eat. With the exception of specific produce allergies, such as to strawberries or to lemons, most of your guests will be able to nibble from a plate arranged with a variety of fruit and vegetable choices. Sliced apples, segmented oranges, grapes, chopped pineapple and whole fresh berries make a colorful appetizer as would a plate filled with bell peppers, carrots, radishes, celery and cucumbers.
Create Your Spread
Don't limit yourself to only items that every single one of your guests will be able to eat. Instead, create a spread that includes a wide variety of options, several for each dietary restriction. For example, set out bowls of mixed nuts, which your nut-free guests won't be able to eat, but if you also include fruits, vegetables, specialty olives and gourmet cheeses, they will still get plenty of pre-dinner snacks. Your vegetarian or vegan guests won't be interested in pate, but they will enjoy other items such as olives, fruits and vegetables.